Hear me out... It took me quite a few years to connect the dots, but it is a thing. This is so out of my comfort zone, I tend to save this kind of conversation for wine night with my girlfriends, but this needs to be talked about more than it is.
I had a patient in his mid 40's that was really struggling with his relationship because he was on a diet his wife wanted him to eat and drink with her. It was interesting because even though he was eating with her, he was not eating what she was eating, and she was not at all happy about it. As we dug in a little bit, he realized that the food and wine was their connection. They were not connecting in the bedroom anymore; they were no longer adventurous or playful. They connected over the food because that is what they had in common. As the words came out of his mouth, his eyes widened and he understood that it was not about the food, it was about the relationship. He now could see that he needed to recreate their relationship and that is just what he did. They started working out together, planned adventures and made the relationship about the two of them and less about what they were eating. He not only lost weight, but he also recreated his relationship with his wife and his business took off! He had found passion in many areas of his life.
This patient really got me interested in the connection between sex and weight, so I started following my couples and it was interesting to ask questions and get an honest assessment from patients what was going on in their world. I've included two of the many case studies, but these were two of my favorites.
Case study #1
Married 45-year-old male that would describe what he was eating with sensuous pleasure, it was as though he was making love to the cake he was about to order to the decadent meal he was fantasizing about right in front of me, it was a little uncomfortable. Over our year working together he finally started talking about it. He did not have sex with his wife. It started when he became about 50 pounds overweight. He did not feel attractive and so he just did not ask because he thought "why would my beautiful wife want to have sex with a fat man?' So, he took that assumption and put all his energy, time, and passion into food and that is where he got ALL his pleasure. When I started working with him, he had 150 pounds to lose. Eventually his wife started to come in to see me as well. She had about 20 pounds she wanted to lose but ended up losing 40 and at the end of their journey. When they were finished with their weight loss, they traded eating out for date night adventures like working out, rock climbing and of course SEX! BTW, they looked amazing when they were done and he was proud of himself and what he had accomplished, but more than that, he found a new passion in life with his wife, and they were having fun again.
Case study #2
Married couple in their early 50's that came in because both needed to lose about 50 lbs. They were getting ready to be empty nesters and they were ready to start taking care of themselves. Their process was a little different, the weight was something that had crept on over the past 10 years, they did not overeat like many of my other patients, just too many poor choices too often. They were not enjoying anytime in the bedroom, they were too busy with their youngest son, getting him ready to go off to school. Their intimacy was centered around food and that is how they spent time together, eating. As soon as they realized that their only form of intimacy was eliminated, they started getting adventurous! It was so much fun to watch them change from week to week. They were finding new connections and doing things they had not done in years. He got back into his music, she got involved in some new volunteer projects. They became playful and enjoyed spontaneous weekend trips alone. They looked at each other differently, like they had just found each other, again.
What I have discovered is that we all have passions and desires, and we do not have to fulfil them with food. When we are active, playful, have hobbies and adventures and of course SEX, our relationships are more fulfilling, and we do not need food to fill some void and our weight is easily managed. So go on a romantic picnic, dinner at a nice restaurant or cook in with your significant other, enjoy the meal and the dessert, but then get on to having FUN and do not rely on the food to satisfy you, because there is no meal or dessert as satisfying as adventures, fun, passion and of course SEX.
Have fun creating on purpose!